Every Thanksgiving at my family's house is the same story, we start the day ready for a big old festive meal and it ends with, well, a few family arguments and stomaches so full we shiver at the idea of more food even before the turkey is placed on the dinner table; hence why we are starting the day light, easy, and full of flavor with Smoked Salmon Blinis.
As you sit back and relax today, perhaps, a tad happy that your family time is scheduled for a brief zoom call (don't worry, I wont tell), read through our typical Thanksgiving by the beach and let me know if it sounds similar to yours.
Let me break it down for you Bridget Jone's Diary style --
6:22am: Wake up, look at the time, try and fall back to sleep.
7:04am: Roll back over to check the time, decide its past 7 and I've "slept in" so it's time to get up.
7:05am: Play on phone.
7:08am: Get up and go downstairs. Look out the window and check for coyotes. Don't see any. Let the dogs outside.
7:30am: Make some coffee.
7:43am: Realize I have awoken the house. Family starts wandering downstairs. Decide it's a little too early to talk to anyone and take my coffee and the dogs down to the beach.
8:15am: Everyone is up. There is talk of getting exercise in before the big meal. I half-heartedly commit to a short run because it might help my slightly thick head from the evening before.
8:37am: Feel like I am being forced against my will and begrudgingly change into running gear.
8:40-9:15am: Run. Have some grumpy and unsavory thoughts about my fiance, brothers, sister-in-law, perhaps one of the dogs if they came along, and anyone else who dragged me into this.
9:16am: Feel relieved and fairly happy that I got a little exercise in. Thick head gone. Feel more pleasant towards the company I keep.
9:30am: Shower up.
9:49am: Congregate back in the kitchen and decide we have a light breakfast of fruit and maybe a half a slice of toast each even though we're all actually pretty hungry. We want to save room for the Thanksgiving feast.
10:30am: Start cooking.
12:11pm: Pop open the bubbly, it is a day to celebrate after all. And, hey, it's after noon.
12:32pm: The glass of bubbly has made us peckish, you could say it has unleashed the hunger we've all been denying. We ignore it.
1:05pm: The first app is ready. Someone takes the spinach and artichoke dip out of the oven, it looks ooey-gooey and delicious. I quickly toast a baguette while the dip cools and slice it up. Someone couldn't wait and has burnt their mouth on the liquid lava; they won't be able to taste anything else the rest of the day. We all feel bad but are secretly glad there will be one less hand dipping into the bowl of spinach and artichoke dip.
1:17pm: I spread a delicious glob of spinach-artichoke dip over a piece of toasted baguette, I hear angels sing.
1:20pm: It's as if something has awoken in all of us and we are put into action. Suddenly, a charcuterie board has been prepared, my Uncle Bill's secret family meatball recipe is off the stove, shrimp cocktail dances from my hand into my mouth, and a baked brie encrusted in pastry dough glistens in its golden brown glory teasingly, flirting with us all to dig in and take the first bite.
1:30pm: We say we're just going to have a little bit while we cook as we fill our plates, fill our mouths, and fill our souls.
2:18pm: The cooking has mostly been completed, now it is just a waiting game. Another bottle of bubbly? Get the saber!
2:42pm: The champagne is flowing freely and someone remembers we got oysters for a nice "light" app before the main meal. I grab the Sailormade Shucker.
3:00pm: Someone has suggested an oyster-off. I am not interested, no one is. Why race to eat such a delicious delicacy?
3:01pm: We transition the apps into the tv room and watch football while we wait for dinner.
3:14pm: My mom comes in and reminds us not to each too much because dinner will be ready by 4:00-4:30. We shake our heads 'of course' but, inside, each of us knows the truth, we are full.
3:24pm: The pot of meatballs is almost empty. There are only about 2 per person left. We all pretend not to notice but in truth, we've had our eyes on the pot the entire time. You see, my Uncle Bill's meatballs are a sweet and spicy temptress that only grace us with her presence twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are black magic. They are our Thanksgiving Day kryptonite. My fiance, not knowing the power of these meatballs, digs in.
3:25pm: My brothers and I wait politely for him to finish. Panic ensues as we fill our toothpicks with the remaining balls.
3:28pm: Someone has spilled sauce on my Mother's carpet. I repeat, SOMEONE HAS SPILLED SAUCE ON MY MOTHER'S CARPET.
3:29pm: I sprint to the kitchen for a can of seltzer. My mom, basting her turkey, turns to me and asks if I have seen a ghost. I say 'yes' because this house is haunted and I don't want her to know the truth.
3:30pm: My brother pops open the can and starts blotting the carpet.
3:31pm: It looks like we have been successful in removing the stain. Just in case, we strategically place a dog toy over the spill.
3:38pm: We must ease the tension in the room. Another bottle of champagne.
4:00pm: We are full and we are sleepy. A group nap takes effect.
4:38pm: We are awoken by the dinner bell (AKA, my Dad turning off the tv and asking us why all the champagne bottles are already empty).
4:46pm: We gaze across a beautiful tablescape of Thanksgiving day classics from a perfectly roasted turkey to silky mashed potatoes, from maple roasted brussels sprouts to glistening cranberry sauce. And yet, we feel nothing, if not a little sick because we have done what we promised ourselves we wouldn't do - we have filled up before dinner.
Anyways! That's why this year I am planning a pre-thanksgiving brunch that will leave us hungry and excited about our dinner feast. I'm keeping it simple, light and delicious. This is the menu:
Mixed green salad
Oysters on the half shell
Smoked Salmon Blinis
I made Smoked Salmon Blinis for the first time this fall. Though they are nice and light they don't lack in tastiness. I've shared my favorite blini recipe here. Try it out this Thanksgiving and let me know what you think.